It’s an item most college students use every day – but tomorrow it will be used to bring awareness to the issue of suicide on campus at Temple University.
It’s a display of 1100 backpacks called “Send Silence Packing” – the backpacks represent how many lives are lost to suicide on American college campuses every year.
Each pack is dedicated to the memory of a specific person, containing pictures and personal stories.
The traveling exhibit is organized by “Active Minds” a national network of college groups promoting mental health and awareness.
Executive director Alison Malmon lost her brother to suicide when she was a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania. She says 1100 backpacks lined up elicit powerful reactions:
Malmon: It’s such a visual representation of such tragedy. Time and time again we hear from individuals that they didn’t realize that this was such an issue. Or they even sometimes have to step away from the display because it is so impactful, but then they always come back
Malmom says students can learn about suicide warning signs and prevention at the display.